Despite Reports of Its Death, Guest Posting Still Works to Grow Your Online Audience

Writing quality content for a third-party site, with a backlink to your site, remains effective but the emphasis is on "quality.''

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By Pratik Dholakiya

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Guest posting remains one of the most important content marketing strategies, even after it was declared dead by Matt Cutts back in January 2014. Though his post caused a shockwave among marketers, guest posting continues to help brands in growing blog readerships as well as in improving their search engine rankings.

Therefore, every marketer should make this a part of their toolbox for successful content creation that ranks and converts.

Guest posting, as the name suggests, is writing and publishing content on a third-party blog or website as a guest author. Done correctly, guest posting is a great way to find and connect with new readers. You build your brand reputation by creating a strong endorsement for your business.

Related: Yes, Guest Blog Posting is Still a Viable SEO Tactic for Growing Your Business

The components of classic branding strategies include seven major elements: mission, vision, identity, value, integrity, strategy and marketing.

However, today's digital marketing environment calls for the "eighth element," which is reputation management. Businesses need to proactively manage and cultivate their online reputation to build loyalty as well as to generate leads.

Guest posting, which involves getting your content published on high quality third-party sites, forms the basis of online reputation management. Publishing authoritative content on high-quality sites not only allows you to manage your reputation, but also helps you to build relationships, trust and connections with your readers.

It is the dream of every brand to influence its target market. There are many ways to influence people and guest posting is definitely one of the key strategies to consider.

Industry connections.

Guest posting connects you with similar businesses and websites. For example, an article on a well-respected blog will establish your authority over the subject and improve your industry reputation. Articles that are aimed to educate readers about your business offerings are probably the best tool to enhance your industry reputation and improve your connection.

Access a wider audience.

Since you're tapping into the audience of third-party websites, guest posting introduces you to a large readership. Besides, you can get new visitors to your website as these third-party sites allow you to add links back to your site either in the post or in the author-bio section.

Building relationships.

Quality content is the most important aspect of any marketing strategy. A good guest post is cherished for the value it adds to the publishing site. With a quality post you're actually building relationships with fellow bloggers, who are tremendously influential (mostly) over social media sites. This also helps you gain authority in the realm of social media, ultimately leading you to get more blog subscribers.

Related: Increasing Website Traffic: 6 Steps to Guest Blogging

Influence search engines.

As mentioned, the host blogger allows you to add a link back to your site somewhere in the post. This makes guest posting an authentic way to create backlinks to raise the value of your website to search engines and improve your search ranking.

There is nothing too complicated about successful guest posting. You need to short-list some relevant websites, browse the host blogs and develop a topic based on their theme. After that, pitch them with your ideas, write the post and include a strong author-bio with a link back to your site.

But then, it's not that simple either.

What makes the best bloggers in the industry different from the rest is the strategy they follow. For a quantum leap in effectiveness, consider these three tips:

1. Instead of focusing only on generating links or traffic, aim for overall effectiveness. The content you guest post should enhance your traffic, backlinks, credibility, subscribers, social shares and more. Track the metrics for all your posts and analyze data to determine which combination of host blog, topic and promotion generates the best overall return.

2. Don't forget the A-List conversation. Give credit to articles you're using to research your guest posts with a link. This not only demonstrates your industry knowledge, but also proves your ability to add something valuable to the conversation.

3. The success of guest posting begins with identifying the right websites/blogs to approach. Target websites and blogs that are relevant, popular, high-quality and authoritative, and have similar audiences.

Quality matters.

When it comes to guest posting, never compromise on quality. This again brings us back to what Matt Cutts said about this marketing tool: "So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it's just gotten too spammy."

Google is not against guest posting, otherwise websites like New York Times, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and others that feature content from freelancers and guest bloggers would have become a thing of past by now. Besides, there are many renowned brands, including Klout, Intel, Forrester Research and O'Reilly Media, that have benefited from guest posting. What these brands do different is that they focus on quality.

They not only maintain regular guest posts at top online publications, but also use these platforms to provide industry insights, stats, and first-hand tutorials, all of which are things that interest readers.

For best results, stop looking at guest posting as a tool to build backlinks or force sales, but a platform that can help you position yourself as an expert in your niche.

Related: 7 Ways the Perfect Host Makes Guest Bloggers Feel Right at Home

Pratik Dholakiya

Founder of Growfusely

Pratik Dholakiya is the founder of Growfusely, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO.

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